Krell Evolution Series
Krell Industries brought their latest assault on the high-end state of the art to New York's Sound By Singer this week, introducing their Evolution Series preamplifier and monoblock power amplifiers to a small group of press wonks and well-heeled local customers. Cashing in at a stunning $40,000 for the Evolution Two Preamplifier and an equally heart-attack inducing $50,000 for the Evolution One Amplifier, Krell's Dan D'Agostino [above] laid claim to his goal of producing the best components in the world, bar none.

Tricked out in a massive, brilliantly sculpted casing of what appeared to be 1/4" brushed aluminum, the Evolution One Power Amplifier is a monaural design that features a separate power supply for each channel. The 450-watt Class A circuitry features proprietary Krell Current Mode topology and the latest versions of Krell's Sustained Plateau Bias and CAST circuitries. Arranged in dual monoblock configuration in Sound By Singer's largest listening room, the amps ran quite hot to the touch and glowed with an eerie finality as if to say, "we are the amps above all amps and you will have no other amp before us!"

The Evolution Two Preamplifier is also a monaural design and also outfitted with a separate power supply for each channel. "The balanced, zero feedback, proprietary Krell Current Mode and CAST circuitries results in a two megahertz open loop bandwidth that guarantees near perfection in the critical listening spectrum," states the Krell literature. These beauties sat to the side of the main rig on a green marble divan, looking sleek and unobtrusive even in their four-stack array. Krell showed the Evolution System with their equally imposing LAT 1000 Lossless Acoustic Transducer speakers completing a physical presentation that was overwhelming before a single note was even played.

Using the Krell SACD Standard as a digital source, D'Agostino's demonstration CD included Steely Dan and various other non-audiophile recordings that ran the gamut from funk to jazz to intimate chamber music. Even at quiet levels, the Evolution Series system performed with such a sustained dynamic profundity and sense of absolute power, one could only listen in drop-jawed wonder. Every acoustic bass riff, snare drum crack and smoky female jazz vocal emanated as if from a veritable Mount Olympus of audio bravado. This was high end as dawn-of-creation shout-out. It was a larger-than- life affirmation, a "You will obey the force, Luke" power massage. No one in attendance leaft a non-believer.

Returning to a lesser wattage all-tube system or a tiny triode/large horn scenario would seem a journey back in time after the Krell event. But small comforts are what most listeners turn to in the face of such gravitas, power and glory. All hail Krell!

Krell website